Monday, May 4, 2009


Two days ago we set out on a road trip to Golden Bay.  It's about a two hour drive but it's always hellish sitting in the back of a small car with the girls when it's over about 10 min.  The first thing we did was stop by a cafe in a town about 20 minutes from Golden Bay.  It was nice stopping for a big plate of nacho's after a long ride through the winding roads.  Just 5 minutes from the town was the second clearest water in the world.  I don't know how they judged the first and second clearest but it was so clear you could barely see any water at all.  The next thing we did was going to a charming little village by the side of the bay and ate delicious chocolate.  Part of the bay is made up of the Farewell Spit, the longest sandbar in the southern hemisphere.  You could barely make out the end of the spit in the distance, which had a light house on it.  At this point in our journey it was getting late so we headed to our five star suite we were staying in for the night.  At least that's the happy place I went to as we were staying there, it was actually the worst place I'd ever stayed in.  It smelled bad, looked bad, and I couldn't drink the water.  I was scared to sleep but managed to rest for a few hours.  The next morning mom captured a cockroach encouraging us to leave.  One good thing about staying in that cabin was that it helped me appreciate my lifestyle more.  In the morning we went back to that small town next to the bay and got some breakfast.  Afterwards we went towards the Farewell Spit.  The walk was very scenic, through a shire with lots of animals and crap on the trail.  What I personally liked about it was the fact that you didn't have to wear shoes because most of it was through sand.  We hiked to the sand dunes, right next to the spit on the beach, and a couple people walked up to us and said there were a bunch of baby seals swimming in a tide pool beside the ocean.  So we went to where the seals were and just sat there watching them for like 2 hours.  It was really cool because they were just like little puppy dogs.  They were really curious and would flop over to you and sniff your feet.  One even let dad and I pet it.  It was a really cool experience.  At one point I left my shoes for a while and one flopped up and put it in it's mouth.  Dad told me to let it sniff it until dollar signs flashed before his eyes as the seal started dragging it back towards the water.  We had to corner it and take the shoe back.  After that I'd run around with the shoe as the seal chased me, it was a lot of fun.  They're normally curious happy creatures unless you get between them and the ocean.  I tried this and on started charging at me, trying to drive me away from the area.  I reluctantly left, not wanting to get rabies or something.  When we were done playing with the seals, we played around on the sand dunes for a while and then left for home.  On our way back to the house we're staying in now, we made a couple side stops with amazing views of the bay.  Make sure to check the bottom of the page for pictures of the baby seals.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rain in New Zealand

Ever since we got back from the glacier it's been pretty rainy so we've had to find indoor things to do with a few breaks in the weather allowing us to go outside.  One of those things was going to the Museum of Wearable Art.  At first I didn't want to go in because I'm not a big fan of art museums, except for the Louvre which was an exception, but I decided that I'd get bored if I waited in the car so I went in.  I'm glad I did because it ended up being really cool.  Most of the museum was interesting artistic outfits that people made that was supposed to represent something.  They have some contest every year where they have some of the costume artists show their costumes in a beauty contest or something and they had some of the previous winners in the museum.  I wouldn't say it inspired me to do more art because it didn't look like fun to make them but they were cool to look at.  Another part of the museum was a giant room with a bunch of old fashioned cars.  The girls barely looked at that exhibit but me and dad took our time looking at every car, wishing we had one.  There were tons of cool looking Ferrari's, BMW's, and Corvette's.  Another indoor activity we've done is going to an indoor climbing wall. It was a huge place with lots of different walls to choose from.  Isabel's almost as good as me at climbing, she got up one of the really big walls like a monkey.  Today was supposed to be rainy but was sunny all day.  Me and dad went kayaking in the lake by our house and later the whole family went to rabbit island, a nearby island where me and dad go running while the girls play in the sand.  We found some really weird jellyfish washed up on the shore and I got scolded for picking one up.  There was also a huge rainbow by our house, the biggest dad said he'd ever seen.  Hopefully it'll be sunny the next few days even though it's scheduled to rain.  We're also looking forward to swimming with dolphins.  C yA

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The New Zealand Glacier

3 days ago we went to a new home for a couple days to see the glacier. We also had a couple stops along the way. The first place we went on our rode trip was to the biggest swinging bridge in New Zealand. Mom didn't like the swinging bridge because of her fear of heights, but I didn't have any problems with it. The only somewhat scary part was passing people coming in the opposite direction. You were really high up with a rocky river below but it still wasn't a big deal. We did a little hike and walked down to the river. It was a really cool view because we were in a big river gorge. The most fun part of this whole swinging bridge adventure was the ride back. We took a zipline far above the bridge to get back instead of walking back across the bridge. You didn't go super fast but it was still a really good view. I filmed it so you will probably be able to see it on youtube soon. The next place we stopped along the way was a trail that led down to the ocean. It was spectacular view but not much to tell about it because not much happened. It was a really rough beach and had lots of warnings about riptides and all that. Our last advendure was the Pancake Rocks which was a major tourist attraction with lots of tour buses and cars. I really enjoyed this hike but it wasn't what I expected, I thought that because it was called the pancake rock it would be flat round rocks and the water would maybe be the syrup but it was really a bunch of layers of sharp jagged rocks so it was only called that because they were all stacked on top of each other. There was a whole formation of the that went on for quite a ways and it was a nice hike with that even had blowholes, the only problem was it wasn't high tide so the water didn't shoot as high as usual. Now I'll get to the glaciers, the most interesting part of the trip. We got to the town that was right next to the glacier and there were like 5 different helicopter tours to choose from, dad didn't want to spend money on the tour but mom convinced him so we got a flight where they brought us up and landed on the glacier. It was exciting to for me party because I'm into aviation and because we were going to get a birds-eye view of a glacier. We got headsets that blocked out most of the sound of the engine so we could enjoy the view more. Our tour-guide talked to us about the different parts of the glacier so we also got an educational experience. Basically they're formed when tons of snow and ice fall on the top of the mountain and freezes and as more and more pressure builds up from more and more snow, it eventually makes a river of snow and ice. I loved the helicopter tour because we flew really low, much lower than you could ever fly in a Cessna. When we got to a clearing, he landed allowing us to get out and take some pictures for 10 minutes or so. Isabel did a little dance imitating happy feet while Amelia filmed her. Amelia also filmed numerous parts of the tour which I'm planning on putting on my blog or youtube for you to see. When we landed we had a few burritos which didn't taste at all Mexican, it tasted more like a sloppy-joe showing that America's still better and some stuff although it was still pretty good. We went for a hike that led to the bottom of the glacier and they had it roped off pretty far away from the glacier because it can be dangerous and unpredictable at times. I guess a couple of Koreans decided to go under the glacier and ended up dying because it caved in so they make sure you know that there's danger involved in going any closer to the glacier. Me and dad went on a cool path with lots of climbing rocks to get to the bottom of the glacier passing a sign that said EXTREME DANGER encouraging us to go just a bit closer. We could actually see under the glacier where there was a river flowing out from under the glacier which I'm assuming is really cold so I was careful to not fall in. On our way back to the rental house we stopped to see some glow worms at a little park. They really glowed good because it nightime. Yesterday, we did our long drive back to the house we're staying in and we made a couple more stops on the way. The first stop was just at a cafe to get some coffee and then we went on a hike to see a seal colony. I love those little things flopping over the rocks, I just wanted to go up and hug one. That's all we really did yesterday. Today we just hung out and recovered from our long drive. We went to Rabbit Island for most of the day where I made lots of huge pictures in the wet sand. Everyone walking down the beach would stop to look at them because they were so huge. And that's bout it, later.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hiking on the Coast of New Zealand

I was happy to see that it was nice outside meaning we could do the hike we weren't able to do a couple days ago. It was awesome, small green islands dotted the clear ocean with mountains all around, it was very scenic. On the hike there are numurous trails leading to sand beaches where you can take breaks but it wasn't until we got to the steepest trail that we went down to the beach, which we decided to spend the whole day at. We would have done the trail we were planning on doing but it was so relaxing on the beach and we were all so tired that we decided to take another relaxing day. Actually all the days we've been here have been relaxing days but that's what vacations are for. It was ice cold water and I was the first one to go in. I was out about 2 seconds after I got in but it was refreshing. There were also some big rocks further down the beach to climb on and explore which was also kind of fun. We thought it was a deserted beach at first but after walking down the beach we found out there were a couple kayaking groups hanging out which made me want to go on a kayaking tour. Mom told me I'd be able to because she got all the info for it and everything, the girls plan on taking an art class or something while me and dad go kayaking because you have to be 14. The miserable part for me was hiking out because my feet were all sandy and I hate walking in sandy shoes. Amelia and I ran ahead of mom and dad to make sculptures with rocks, there was a muddy part of the trail where you could make little pictures with these rocks and I just decided to do my initials for everyone on the path to see. After getting out of the park finally, we stopped by the cafe near the entrance to get a hot drink, I got a chai latte which I liked. For dinner we had one of the best meals ever, which is fish and chips. It came with too many french fries for our whole family to handle. Tomorrow we plan on going to the Sunday Market which should be a good cultural experience. Check out my pictures on the side, I have one of mom attempting a cartwheel!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Fish Touching Museum

Today we learned about what kids our age in other countries think about America. First of all, they think of all Americans as overweight, saying everything is big in the U.S. They weren't trying to offend us by saying that, we were just curious about other countries views on us. They also think Bush is a dumbass which most people in America would agree with, but they thought Obama was a good president. I guess theres New Zealand trooops in Iraq because of a war we started. Those were just a couple of things I thought were interesting, I was also surprised that people in New Zealand would keep up with American politics but mom said it was because our decisions affect other countries like the troops from New Zealand in Iraq. They also asked about religion and other deep topics that I was surprised they'd ask us about after meeting us only a couple hours earlier. It was also pretty random like, Are you Christian? They were still fun to hang out with, we built a dirt jump and were taking mountain bike's off it. When mom and dad got home we ate and headed for the touching aquarium where the rules are that you can touch anything you can reach which was really fun. My favorite thing to touch was the Manta Ray because it was kinda slimy even though it's basically a type of shark. Most sharks skin is rough and dry so me and dad were both surprised. We were also able to touch fish, eels, turtles, etc. We were planning on playing tennis after that but all the tennis balls they had at the store were crappy. Me and dad went for a run at Rabbit Island while the girls sat on the beach and made a sand castle. Tomorrow we plan on hiking at the National Park we visited, we were planning on hiking it then but it was raining.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

First Week in New Zealand

I haven't been able to blog lately because we've had trouble getting online at the previous places we've stayed at but we're at the last place we're going to be staying in on our trip and we've got internet access that isn't dial-up. I'll start with the plane ride. It was the nicest seat I've ever had on an airplane. It was business class but we didn't get to sit on the upper level of the 747. The seat reclined all the way back so it was just like a bed making it easy to get some sleep. I've always had a problem with sleeping on airplanes but for once I got some sleep. We also had our own TV's, but they have those on other airplane's too. This is the first one where we could watch whatever we wanted when we wanted to. You had a menu and could pick from a variety of movies, games, music, and music videos. I thought it was pretty cool that you could play other people on the plane in different games. When we landed in Australia, it was hell. We were really confused and couldn't get on any flights. Finally, they were able to get us on a flight to New Zealand. We flew on an airline called Qantas, I didn't like the seats nearly as much as the ones they have on United. The meal was really good though, I liked it more than the one we have on United. In New Zealand everything went pretty smoothly. We made it through customs quickly and found our driver that took us to our rental car without a problem. Finally, after about 25 hours of flying, we made it to our house near Auckland. The next day we just rested, nobody was in the mood to do any hiking so we just sat around all day except for our walk up to the village which was very nice. Now that I've summarized our first couple days in New Zealand, I'm just going to go over the highlights of what's happened.

THE PENGUIN MUSEUM was the first major thing we've done so far, it was a lot of fun. On our third day, we drove into Auckland to see some penguins and other sea creatures. Auckland was beautiful, right next to the ocean and it was a sunny day so there were tons of walkers and people on sailboats which made it a very happy atmosphere. When I saw that the museum was indoors, I wasn't as excited about it because it was such a nice day, but when we walked inside, it was really cool. There was a huge tank that they kept the penguins in that was just like a slice of Antarctica. We took a snowmobile type thing that ran around the perimeter of the tank so we could see the penguins up close. It was really cool because it was like riding around a group of penguins in Antarctica. We were also fortunate enough to watch them get fed. The penguinkeepers were putting fish in their mouths, one second the fish was there, then it disappeared very quickly. We also got to see baby penguins that were very fluffy. That was my highlight of the museum but there were also other tanks of stingrays, paranas, and other fish. We even got to see the parana's get fed which was pretty cool.

ZORBING is where you get in a huge rubber ball and roll down a hill. For one ride it's like $30 so it would probably be a good business idea for a business in America. You could choose between being strapped in and doing flips in the ball or having the squirt a bunch of water in and go rolling down without being strapped in. I chose to go down with water in it. First you have to dive through a tunnel that goes to where you are when you roll. You get to choose between two different tracks on the hill. One that goes straight down (the wussy track) or the one that zigzags back and forth (the fun track). I obviously picked the fun track while the girls picked the girl track. When I dove in, I expected the water to be freezing cold but it was actually as warm as bath water. When you're rolling down the hill, you don't have time to look outside the ball and enjoy the sights, it's violent. You're constantly being pushed in different directions in the ball when you come to another curve in the track. The girls experience with it was probably much different because they got to stay in one direction. It was lot's of fun and would love to do it again sometime.

THE WORLD FAMOUS SHEEP SHOW- Mom made us get up early to go to a sheep show which sounded really boring to me. We drove to the farm and went to where the show was going to be. There were tons of people in a large auditorium and a big pyramid where there were places for the sheep to stand and every stand was labeled. Before the show started, he asked what country everyone was from and we were the only American's there. Everyone was pretty much from Asia. The show started off by the guy naming different types of sheep while they ran up on the podium. It sounds like it would be boring but he was really entertaining and it was a lot of fun to watch. After he had all of the sheep on the pyramid he sheered one. The sheep started out all fluffy and after he sheered it there was barely and wool on it. He then did a demonstration with dogs used to round up sheep. Since there wasn't enough room on stage for the sheep, he had to use ducks instead. The dog was very well trained, it didn't know how to round up the ducks on it's own but the guy running the show would tell it to go right and it would go right or to go left and it would go left or creep up, there were tons of commands knew. The dog easily rounded up the terrified ducks and the show was over. To prove that the dog could round up real sheep, there was another show outside in a big area where he was having the dog bring a group of sheep through an obstacle course. Sheep are really stupid animals because even though they were twice as big as the dog, they were terrified of it and went through the obstacle course obediently. We then went on a tour of the farm and got to feed alpaca's, and other farm animals.

We've also done many other thing while here in New Zealand but I'm not going to go into detail right now because I'm going to go explore around our house. One disappointment though is that we didn't get to see the Shire where the Lord of the Rings was filmed.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New Zealand Coming Up!

Tomorrow we're heading to New Zealand on a really long flight, hopefully we'll get business class. Make sure to keep checking it, I'll be blogging every day when we're in New Zealand.